Baking is no easy task. True, cooking, in general, isn’t exactly “piece of cake,” but baking manages to raise the difficulty bar through the thin line between success and failure. You need to measure every teaspoon, every ounce, and any tiny gram over the recommended dose might result in a flop. Either way, there’s no wonder that baking comes with a strict rule book. If you really want to learn how to become a successful baker, either as a hobby or occupation, we recommend taking some baking classes. Why? Because you will learn some valuable tips – just like the ones below!
#1 Have the Butter Prepared
Butter is a constant ingredient in all kinds of baked goods and, depending on its texture and temperature, it can change the consistency of your batter drastically. Recipes can either ask for softened, melted and cooled, or chilled and solid butter.
Pay extra attention to instructions that detail what temperature it should be used at and make sure to have it ready at least one hour before getting started with your recipe. This especially applies for melted butter because, if used immediately, it risks being hot enough to accidentally cook the eggs in the composition.
#2 Focus on the Room Temperature
You’ll notice many recipes asking for ingredients at room temperature, especially as far as butter, eggs, or any other dairy products are concerned. As strange as it may sound, whether they’re really at room temperature or not can make a huge difference. Room temperature ingredients can change the texture of a composition a lot, helping you get a much better final product.
#3 Read the Full Recipe
Since baking is so meticulous, it goes without saying that you need to analyze the recipe to the smallest of detail as well. As strange as it may sound, if you don’t read ahead the steps that follow, you might be in for a bit of a surprise, which in turn might lead to a disaster. Always keep in mind that baking is somewhat unpredictable, so even if you think you know what’s coming next, never steer away from reading the full recipe.
#4 Have all Ingredients Prepared
We return to the first tip for a moment. Even though butter is definitely the most pretentious of all, you should absolutely have everything ready before you actually dive into the action. This is all, once more, reduced to the temperature issue, among others. Some ingredients might need time to warm up or cool off, so allow them to do so.
#5 Learn Measurements
And the most meticulous aspect of all is the measuring. It’s vital to stick to the numbers written on the recipe, whether they refer to the quantity or temperatures. Adding anything more or less than the recommended quantity is guaranteed to result in a flop. To avoid this, it’s mandatory that you take a look at the many measurement guides on the Internet or in libraries.
#6 Get a Scale
Measurements that refer to cups or tablespoons can get a bit tricky. If you can help it, try to find recipes that offer directions through direct weighing, using grams or ounces. There is a lot more precision to this method and, for the best of effects, we recommend getting a kitchen scale.
#7 Get an Oven Thermometer
We spoke about one side of the coin – precision in measuring. But, like we said, the temperature is equally important. Even if all your ingredients are measured properly, a few degrees off the recommended baking temperature might ruin it all. Avoid this by getting an oven thermometer, which is specifically designed to give you the real temperature inside.
#8 Don’t Stress the Oven Door
Most ovens benefit from transparent glass patches that allow you to see through and keep an eye on your puffing muffins and baked goods. As tempting as it is, we should try to limit our supervision to keeping an eye on them through the door. Constantly opening and closing it is going to bring upon temperature variations that might ruin the product.
#9 Cool Down the Cookie Dough
And here is a pretty specific baking tip. If you’re planning on spoiling someone with a batch of classic chocolate-chip cookies, you might want to try chilling the dough in the freezer first. This is going to help the flavors blend together and it will result in a non-spreading, more consistent cookie at the end.
#10 Slip a Piece of Bread Inside
And since we’re on the topic of cookies, here’s one tip that will ensure your cookies stay soft. If you store them in a jar or any other closed-off container, throw in a piece of bread. It’s going to ooze its moisture and dry up, transferring all the softness into the cookies. Think of it like the way trees give us oxygen. Cool, right?